David Carradine's portrayal of Kwai Chang Caine was the first inactment of any martial art that most people in the states had ever seen and, to this day, that portrayal remains among the most inspirational for it's embodiment of Eastern ideals.
As for this first season set of DVDs, I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to learn anything about the drive behind learning a martial art, to fans of the series and to anyone wanting to instill humility and moral direction within themselves or their children. Kids may not want to give it a chance, things are a little different today than they were in the seventies.
I have no problem with the widescreen aspect ratio. The framing is very palatable to me and in no way is an excuse to miss out on the content of the show or to miss out on reliving some early inspirations that came out of the series. The quality of the picture and sound is top notch.
A truly inspirational series for any day and age
In the 70s, America was still embroiled in the Vietnam War when Carradine, who played Kwai Chang Caine, walked barefoot into the homes of viewers portraying a Chinese priest of the Shaolin Order who was also a Kung Fu martial arts expert.
Through Caine, complex themes of religion, spirituality, philosophy, violence, peace, racism, morality, greed, human dignity and cruelty were examined each week in the guise of an off-beat Western set in the 1800s.
Caine, who was part American, was forced to flee his homeland after his mentor, Master Po, portrayed brilliantly by Luke, was murdered by a royal guardman, who in turn was killed by Caine. The royal family issued an edict to capture Caine --- dead or alive.
Caine came to America in search of his half-brother, walking from town to town following leads as to his sibling's whereabouts.
While the story seems simple enough, it afforded the show's writers ample opportunities to explore the aforementioned themes by depicting Caine's interaction with those who lived in America's Old West, illustrating through the use of extensive flash-backs, the teachings of his Shaolin masters and his Chinese martial arts training. It also provided plenty of excitement and action through Carradine's use of Kung Fu in America, which he frequently employed to protect the less fortunate or otherwise vulnerable victim.
Caine's cultural views and religious training that stressed peaceful coexistance with his fellow man, equality and non-materialism, put him at odds with most of those he encountered.Read more ›